When will ETIAS be applied?

Passengers who want to visit the European Union who do not need a visa will have to apply for permission via the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) which will be implemented in January 2021.

This screening process will apply to citizens of countries that do not need a visa to travel to the Schengen region of the EU. Countries within the Schengen zone include all EU member countries except for the UK and Ireland, as well as the four representatives of the European Free Trade Association which are Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. Even though Romania, Cyprus, Croatia, and Bulgaria are not currently within the Schengen zone, they will be part of ETIAS.

Travelers who are currently able to visit the EU without any travel permit will need to apply for the ETIAS permit. This includes citizens of New Zealand, Brazil, Australia, the United States, Japan, and Canada. Once the United Kingdom leaves the EU, the UK citizens will be excluded from European Union visa requirements and will likely have to obtain an ETIAS permit.

Since ETIAS is not a visa, travelers who currently require a visa to visit the Schengen zone will not be bothered by the ETIAS introduction and will still need to get a visa. ETIAS is similar to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) in America and the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) in Canada.

ETIAS application system will online and will check an applicant’s identity and the information on the passport against various European Union databases. In most cases, an online application will be approved within 20 minutes. ETIAS online applications that are not approved automatically will be checked manually by ETIAS officials, and applicants who are rejected can appeal the rejection. Each application will cost €7 for applicants above the age of 18. Applicants who are under 18 will not need to pay an application fee.

ETIAS permit will last for three years or until the expiration date of the travel document or passport that was used to make the online application.

ETIAS application that is successful does not guarantee entry. As with the United States’ ESTA and Canada’s ETA, a traveler’s travel documents and ETIAS permit will be checked at the border of the Schengen state and the traveler may be allowed entry. If the traveler has not obtained an ETIAS permit, then an entry will not be allowed.

ETIAS will help European Union border officials to get more information about a visa-free traveler who is visiting the EU. The EU believes ETIAS will speed up entry at Schengen borders and help improve the security at the borders.  Once it has been applied, countries will be able to deny entry to passengers before they come to the Schengen border. ETIAS is scheduled to be fully functional by January 2021.

What is the ETIAS application process?

Visitors will need to fill an online application form that covers travel, biometric and security related questions. The ETIAS online application will then be processed electronically within 96 hours, and the permission delivered by email.

Traveler data will be examined against the European Union and other International databases including no-fly lists, to find potential criminals and terrorists who will then be denied entry through the ETIAS program. Most applications are expected to be processed within one hour if no further checks are needed.

Passengers with a valid ETIAS permit will be able to visit the ETIAS member states. This group includes the majority of European countries such as Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and eighteen other countries.

Guiding principles of ETIAS

The European Union has agreed on basic principles which will be at the center of its application:

  • Affordable: It will be mandatory to pay a reasonable fee using a credit or debit card.
  • Straightforward: The ETIAS application will be user-friendly and easy. It will be processed by filling information such as your name, date of birth, and passport details.
  •  Fast: It should not take more than twenty minutes to finish the ETIAS online application form.
  • Effective: All the information filled will be cross-examined against EU and International security databases which will identify potential threats.
  • Transparent: If an application is rejected, the applicant will need to be notified about the verdict within 96 hours. Applicants will able to demand reasons why their application is rejected.